The wrap knows one of your secrets

(1) A shout out for dogged music journalism and a reminder that those who call themselves music journalists should actually do more than review new releases or docile Q&A interviews with pop stars. Superb profile of Chicago writer Jim De Rogatis, the man who made it his business to dig into the R. Kelly story and investigate allegations of sexual abuse against the r’n’b performer. Real music journalism work.

(2) “A Porky Prime Cut”: the secret history of messages etched into records.

(3) Monday morning sounds: Anne Briggs “The Time Has Come”

(4) One for those running the Dublin marathon next weekend: inside the strange, weird and downright bizarre world of social media marathon cheating

(5) If you’re one of those people who walk through airports and wonder about the amount of people rocking those travel pillows with them, this is for you. TL:DR? Yep, they’re useless

(6) Banter podcast: an encounter with the one and only Fachtna O Ceallaigh, the straight-shooting music manager. There’s lots to dig into here, from his days writing about music for The Evening Press to managing acts like Clannad, the Boomtown Rats, Bananarama, the Bothy Band, Donal Lunny, Morrissey (for seven eventful weeks), Eamon, Ricky Gervais (when he was in Seona Dancing), Dread Broadcasting Corporation and, currently, Hare Squead.

(7) John Jeremiah Sullivan is one of our favourite writers because his work is also so detailed and colourful. In new essay The Curses, he writes about the history of what may be the first blues song ever written, an 1887 sheet-music hit titled “The Curse” by composer Paul Dresser.

(8) 30 new songs every Monday: the science behind Spotify’s Discover Weekly.

(9) Time to go back to Detroit: the story of how techno was born, developed and continues to thrive amidst the city’s financial and social strife.

(10) Tune


The wrap is ready to kick some leaves

(1) We may well have come across the tune of the year. Rostam’s gorgeous “Bike Dream” is an absolute peach of a track, something which makes you realise that the former Vampire Weekend lad and accomplice for the likes of Frank Ocean and Solange is one heck of a talent. Check him out on a recent episode of Song Exploder where he talks about how the song came about. His new album “Half-Light” is quite marvellous and colourful so check that out too.


(2) Monday morning blues: why the work-from-home-dream doesn’t actually work. Bonus for those wondering who took their stapler over the weekend: 10 inventions which shaped the modern workplace.

(3) Why the iPhone camera rocks: “what Apple’s doing is using its software to light a photo as a lighting person might and, more broadly, taking away the complexity of how the fancy cameras you’d typically need to do that stuff work.”

(4) So punk rock: Year Zero is a symposium to mark 40 years since The Clash played in Trinity College which takes place in that august venue on October 21. You’ve got readings, screenings, discussions and the first ever performance in Dublin by legendary Clash associate, DJ and film-maker Don Letts. Another 40th year bash is Punk DIY 40 from Hope Collective to mark the 40 years since the release of the Radiators From Space “TV Tube Heart”. This takes place on October 1 at Dublin’s Grand Social.

(5) One of our favourite Banter podcasts of late is this conversation about the future of work, which took place in the Bullitt Hotel in Belfast over the summer. Listen back to Adrienne Hanna from Right Revenue; Kevin Curran, Professor of Cyber Security at the University Of Ulster and Philip Brady from Citibank talking robots, AI, automation and Blockchain.

(6) Long read of the week: an excerpt from Finn Murphy’s The Long Haul: A Trucker’s Tales of Life On the Road. “I can feel the sweat running down my arms, can feel my hands shaking, can taste the bile rising in my throat from the greasy burger I ate at the Idaho Springs Carl’s Jr. (It was the only place with truck parking.) I’ve got 8.6 miles of 6.7 percent downhill grade ahead of me that has taken more trucks and lives than I care to think about. The road surface is a mix of rain, slush, and (probably) ice. I’m one blown air hose away from oblivion, but I’m not ready to peg out in a ball of flame or take out a family in a four-wheeler coming to the Rocky Mountains to see the sights.”

The wrap is singing in the rain

(1) ICYMI: introducing The Rattler, a new regular-ish column for RTE Culture about music, culture, stuff and all that jazz. The first instalment kicks it with various mavericks including Chuck Berry, the people behind the Voyager space mission as seen in The Farthest, Screaming’ Jay Hawkins, Little Richard, Nina Simone and Mister Please Please Please as in the following film

(2) Fashion department: the rise and rise of streetwear brand Supreme, from a shop staffed with extras from Larry Clark’s Kids to collaborations with Louis Vuitton. Limited edition exclusives: a photo essay of New York’s new geeks

(3) If Banter was a magazine, it would be Grand Royal. A fond tribute to the magazine established by the Beastie Boys where an air of anything goes ruled the roost.

(4) 75 of the best verses from Jigga. “Yeah, I sampled your voice, you were using it wrong”

(5) From the podcast archives: the GAA season has given us some great drama this summer, but would the Austin Gleeson helmetgate shenanigans, that last gasp Joe Canning point or yesterday’s heavyweight set-to in the rain at Croke Park make it into the great GAA novel? Recorded at Crinniú na Cásca at The Printworks in Dublin Castle, here are Irish Examiner sportswriter Michael Moynihan, writer and co-editor Banshee literary journal Eimear Ryan, novelist and Morning Ireland presenter Rachael English and chief sportswriter with the Daily Star Kieran Cunningham talking about the plot and characters who might feature in the great GAA novel.


(6) Before we had a Taoiseach who used to stalk the Canadian prime minister, we used to have a Taoiseach who was a fan of the high five. Here’s the story behind how Los Angeles Dodger Glenn Burke came up with the gesture in the first place

The wrap is looking for a sweeper system

(1) Every Friday morning, I add 10 tracks to the 12345678910 playlist. They could be new tunes or vintage tracks, recent finds or old favourites, just ten tracks which made sense to me in the previous week. Last week’s bunch went from mighty new-school bad ass Stefflon Don and the righteous Max Romeo to the incomparable Sandy Denny and quiet-LOUD-quiet troubadour Isaac Gracie. Dig in.

(2) From Vapor Wake dogs that screen hundreds of people at once to invisible anti-drone walls, the latest innovations that claim to be the future of venue and live music security. Face-mapping is mentioned in the piece which is a reminder of this New Yorker piece on the London detectives who never forget a face.

(3) The 2017/18 football season across the Irish Sea kicked off in earnest at the weekend. While you could enjoy such opening day Premier League fare as Huddersfield Town’s heroics and Chelsea’s woes, it’s really the season when the overall mood is pretty meh. Given that the dominant pre-season story has revolved around escalating transfer fees,  you’re dealing with a sport which is now as romantic and dramatic as a balance sheet. A very good blog post by Ciaran Tierney about the politics of tribal loyalties when it comes to sport in this country is worth reading in this regard.

(4) “Today the Voyagers are 10 billion and 13 billion miles away, the farthest man-made objects from Earth. The 40th anniversary of their launch will be celebrated next month.” An excellent piece of writing about the engineers and explorers who worked on the Voyager mission. And if you have’t done so already, go see The Farthest, Emer Reynolds’ superb and fascinating documentary on this once-in-a-lifetime adventure.


(5) The art of colour: how Pantone comes up with new colours. “Twice a year, Pantone representatives sit down with a core group of between eight and 12 trend forecasters from all over the design world, an anonymous group of international colour experts who work in product design or fashion, teach colour theory at universities, or are associated with institutions like the British Fashion Council. They gather in a central location (often London) to talk about the colours that seem poised to take off in popularity”

(6) “As people are bombarded with more and more entertainment options, quality has become a determining factor for a movie’s success. And moviegoers use Rotten Tomatoes to select films the same way they turn to Yelp to determine what restaurants they visit.”


The wrap is up for the Rossies

(1) Because the first series of Master Of None was such a joy, I was slightly wary about jumping into the new season in case it didn’t live up to high expectations. Man, I’m such a  doofus: if anything, the show is even more of a sweet, fascinating, funny, sharp and on-point treat on second outing. The opening episode is breath-taking (“allora!”), but the sixth one is next level and makes you wow about Aziz Ansari’s smarts. One of the most striking things about the show is its use of music and this piece is a good deep dive into that process (soundtrack below)

(2) Well, it beats the Cúl summer camps…The future of summer camps is the SocialStar Creator Camp, “three days of intensive influencer workshops focusing on monetization, branding, and the basics of shooting and editing video, all aimed at kids in their early teens to mid-20s”.

(3) We did a Banter event at the recent International Literature Festival Dublin about media in an era of fake news. In the latest Bantercast, hear our panelists Kevin Donnellan (UK editor, Storyful), Lois Kapila (co-founder and managing editor, Dublin Inquirer), Jane Suiter (School of Communications DCU and Director of the Institute for Future Media and Journalism) and Cathal McMahon (Irish Independent) discuss everything from Trump and The Liberal to clickbait and the Jobstown trial.

(4) Fashion department: how special collections of music tour merchandise have become one of the newest and fastest-growing subsectors in the fashion world; the latest evolution of the band t-shirt

(5) What happens when your superfans abandon you? “In the old days, fans would find like-minded, similarly obsessed people through fan clubs you could join by mail. But online discussion boards and social media have since expanded super fans’ opportunities to find community. One major difference, though, is that social media has a greater expectation of participation. Thus, the job requirements, so to speak, of stans have grown, especially when it comes to defending their idols from the deluge of backlash such technology allows.”

(6) Berghain by the numbers

The wrap witnessed the great fruit fly massacre of 2017

(1) We have written before of our fondness for Edgar Wright’s fantastic Baby Driver. It’s a sign of the times that great movies now produce the opportunity for so many diverse think-pieces and features – see what happened with Moonlight earlier in the year. Here’s Wright talking about the music in the film and here’s a fascinating piece, complete with film-related link, about the iPod. And, sure why not. here’s the soundtrack

(2) The joy of trailers: “So often people hear that word “trailer” and their minds follow with “trash.” Maybe it was growing up going to my grandfather’s or maybe it was growing up with a trailer park just across the road, but as a child I don’t remember ever thinking that I was better than the kids I played with because I lived in a house and they lived in trailers. It wasn’t that I was oblivious to class. I recognized some folks had more than others, that I had a little more than them, and the rest of the world had a lot more than any of us. I recognized class. It’s just that I don’t remember ever equating class to a person’s worth, and I count myself lucky for that. We all rode the same bus and went to the same school. We bickered and fought, made up secret handshakes and loved each other like brothers and that’s just the way it was, kids being kids.”

(3) Confession time: I’d never heard of George Strait before I read Kelefa Sanneh’s fascinating profile of the country star for The New Yorker. It does what all great profiles should and makes you invested in a narrative which you’ve never come across before.

(4) Some day, I’ll tell you some of my favourite Tom Zutaut in Ireland stories, but here’s the legendary A&R man who signed Guns N’ Roses talking about the making of “Appetite For Destruction”. Bonus Roses: an interview with the band’s first manager Vicky Hamilton.

(5) We’re giving this great read on how music reviews have leaned on grades and stars four out of five. More pop culture numbers: the 100 greatest props in movie history and the stories behind them

(6) Inside Jack White’s record pressing plant in Detroit: “Technologies come and they go, replaced by something cheaper and faster. But what if the old technology—the slower, more expensive one—is better? What if it’s worth preserving, even if preserving it won’t stop the forward march of the new stuff? What if it’s still relevant? You can complain about the new technology, and you can reminisce about the old. You could write an op-ed. But is there anything a person can do to stop, or at least slow, a cultural shift?”

The wrap wants to still be on a beach in Donegal

(1) What do you mean you’ve never heard of Camille? Long before Christine & The Queens captured the high ground when it came to beautifully wonky pop, Camille Dalmais was the go-to woman for that sort of idiosyncratic fare. Over five albums, Dalmais has created bright and bold pop songs where leftfield pop sensibilities and experimental notions got merry with wild abandon. Her latest release is “Oui” and, if you dig what you hear, there is a hugely enjoyable back catalogue to investigate and be smitten by.

(2) Margaret Moser has lived one heck of a colourful life. Find out more about this long-time champion of keep-Austin-weird musical high jinks in this lovely profile by Joe Nick Patoski and this selection of pieces she wrote during her tenure at the Austin Chronicle.

(3) The story behind the current boom for building new mosques in Erdogan’s Turkey

(4) Nina Simone in Liberia in 1974: ““Within a few weeks I felt as if I had been living in my house on the beach all my life. . . .They said I was wild. I wore nothing but a bikini and boots all day long and danced about with the weight gone from around my shoulders.”

(5) Anyone for a new music app which might be actually useful? Introducing Stationhead, the app which turns your Spofity accoung into a radio station. Here’s the Billboard skinny on it – if you want to tune into something for the crack, check out byjimcarroll

(6) Perhaps Stationhead and the like will see an end of acts traipsing from radio stattion to radio station in search of attention and bad coffee? Excellent piece about the radio tours new country acts have to endure

The wrap is staring at the sea

(1) The new Lorde album “Melodrama” truly is swell. I interviewed her recently – it’s the only interview I’ve ever done on the phone from a supermarket car park and it was a first for the interviewee too – and found her to be smart, sharp and savvy. As with our previous encounter, she also gave me some ace book recommendations.

(2) What’s it like when your job involves people shouting at you all day? A foreclosure agent, hospital nurse, restaurant manager, retail worker, security guard and call centre worker tell their stories.

(3) There’s been a lot of comment, speculation and what-have-you about Amazon’s bid for Whole Foods. Here’s a great profile of Whole Foods’ dude John Mackey compiled while that deal was going down.

(4) On the buses: “on any given Friday or Saturday night, the loudest and most public displays of bounce music come from eye-catching, brightly painted party buses. Over the past 12 years since Hurricane Katrina, the owners and operators of these buses have created their own thriving industry around bounce music in New Orleans.”

(5) Anyone for some playlists? The Dowsers collects the best of the thousands of playlists produced every week and tells you what they love and don’t love about them.
(6) If New Orleans has bounce, Washington DC has go-go. Superb long-read by Ericka Bount Danois about the rise, fall and afterlife of the Chocolate City sound.

The wrap is picking strawberries in Wexford

(1) It’s coming up to that time of the year when those best-of-2017-so-far lists will begin to appear. We live in an age of lists – like, hello – so it’s inevitable that lists marking the halfway point in a year are flourishing. One of the albums we’ve enjoyed most in 2017 has been “The Navigator” from Hurray From the Riff Raff. Here’s an interview with the band’s fascinating frontwoman Alynda Segarra and, if you want to check them out, they play Whelan’s, Dublin on October 19 next.

(2) The last post: what’s involved in planning one of those massive funerals which dominates the news cycle? Great read on what was involved in putting together Muhammad Ali’s funeral last year; why hearing Sabres of Paradise’s “Haunted Dancehall” on daytime BBC Radio One is a sign that the queen of England is brown bread; check out James McBride’s excellent Kill ‘Em And Leave for the inside story on what happened after James Brown died.

(3) Were you a fan of Ben Benjamin’s excellent Superbad web art site back in the 1990s? It’s still going as are a host of other sites which enjoyed some time in the viral limelight

(4) It was Biggie all the way at yesterday’s Hot 97 Summer Jam as the 82,500 in attendance marked 20 years of Notorious B.I.G (some attendees marked it in ways they didn’t probably expect). Here’s a piece on the long shelf life of hip-hop’s annual trend setting festival.

(5) On the road: how live music business transport firm Sound Moves keeps the show on the road. In the air: spending a week flying across the United States

(6) The art of the album review in 2017: “in the 1700s, a now extremely dead philosopher named David Hume pioneered the concept of the standard of the “ideal critic.” Despite having never listened to Lil Yachty, SoundCloud Rap, or even a single Red Hot Chili Peppers song, Hume had a pretty solid idea of what makes a good critic: “Strong sense, united to delicate sentiment, improved by practice, perfected by comparison, and cleared of all prejudice.”

The wrap’s brother knows Karl Marx

A list of things for your reading, watching and listening pleasure. Updated every week.

(1) The old dogs for the hard road. The arrival of a new Coldcut album “Outside the Echo Chamber” is a reason to be cheerful, with Matt Black and Jon More joining forces with On-U Sound sonic professor Adrian Sherwood for a thrilling dub odyssey. There are a crew of guests like Roots Manuva, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Junior Reid, Ce’Cile and Chezidek onboard to ensure heavyweight stylings, while the presence of On-U Sound veterans Skip McDonald and Doug Wimbish highlight the project’s bass throughline. A joy.

(2) Are you one of those people who always – always – picks the wrong queue in the shop or supermarket? Here’s what a mathematician has to say about the right queue.

(3) If you only watch one documentary this week about a bodybuilding, well-dressed political operative with a Richard Nixon tattoo, it’s likely to be Get Me Roger Stone. Get the skinny on the dirty tricks dandy here and then dive in.


(4) One of our favourite past Banter guests is 3FE dude Colin Harmon. He’s got a new book out at the moment called What I Know About Running Coffee Shops and it is, as you’d expect, what Colin knows about running coffee shops. He joined us at Banter at Bloom 2016 to talk about why he gave up a career in investment funds to dedicate himself to coffee.

(5) It’s not just Dublin which is going through property hell at the moment. Anna Minton reports on London’s property squeeze which is causing affordable housing to be replaced by luxury apartment towers and, like Dublin, pricing people out of the city.

(6) Reading recommendation of the week: Meet Me in the Bathroom: Rebirth and Rock and Roll in New York City 2001-2011, Lizzy Goodman’s fantastic oral history of the Big Apple’s musical rebirth in the early years of the 2000s.

The wrap is not talking about hurling today

A list of things for your reading, watching and listening pleasure. Updated every week.

(1) If you were one of those who thrilled to Jlin’s superb 2015 debut album “Dark Energy”, you’ll want to be all over her new one “Black Origami”. One of the albums of the season – a fine piece by Hua Hsa on artist and record here

(2) Fashion department: from Asos to Boohoo, inside the world of fast fashion. Not included in sale: a day in the life of Stephanie Shepherd, Kim Kardashian’s wingwoman

(3) It’s Monday which means back to work for the majority of the population, but here’s some pushback on the idea of cool open spaces: why cool offices don’t always make for a happier workforce and inside the offices where everyone is a DJ. On the other hand, you could be looking with envy at the new Apple campus. Meanwhile, for anyone hunkering to quit the office, here’s a great long read on the present and future of the gig economy.

(4) You’ll find my radio essay on the history of the Rough Trade record label for RTE Radio One’s Arena here. That includes a mention for The Strokes and there’s an excellent oral history of the band here.

(5) Is there a doctor in the house? Five medical procedures that are no longer performed

(6) Speaking of oral histories, a superb piece of work on the Game Day episode from the first series of The Wire.